I was in Africa when Bill’s Alive Day came around this year. It seemed a bit odd to be so far away of marking such a significant event in our lives. We celebrate the day each year on Feb. 2nd, when 31 years ago the accident that should have killed my husband, didn’t. It was a miracle, and I chose then to reflect on it each year, lest we forget that God works unexplained, unearned miracles every day.
I shared the short version of the story with my teammates over dinner the night before. Afterwards, I called Bill to hear his voice. My heart was a little homesick. I could feel the emotion welling up just under the surface. It is more of a memory for me than for him. He knows the date, but doesn’t really remember much about it, other than the cards I give him. For me it is always a tenderhearted day.
The next morning, we got a call that one of our Ugandan team members had been in a bota bota accident. He was injured, but at home so we went to check on him and to pray for him. I was not prepared for the flood of emotion that hit me. I guess they call it secondary trauma for a reason, it can be triggered in the oddest places in completely different circumstances. My voice left me and my tears overflowed as we prayed. He had bandages on his head, face, and arm. He was alert and could tell us what happened…so no head injury, thank God. The bandages were applied by first responders, and he planned to go to the hospital later on for further treatment. His wife and children were gathered around with solemn faces. The youngest baby was crying.
Once we were on our way to the teacher’s conference, my tears continued to flow in the front seat of the van. I tried to squelch them to no avail. At some point, I felt the Lord’s gentle whisper, “Let them out. They are cleansing tears.” I did just that. It wasn’t sobbing. It wasn’t really sorrow for our colleague, I knew he was going to recover. It was just a welling up of emotion that needed an outlet. By the time we reached the camp, they had run out. I wiped my face and continued with my day.
Later that evening, a church nearby our hotel had a worship time. Their voices floated over the garden wall to my ears. I Exalt Thee, rang out in loud harmonies. It was beautiful. Once again, the tears came. That specific song, was the only one Bill would listen to after his accident. All others got tossed to the floor, in the trash, or shattered with a fist. Put on I Exalt Thee and peace flooded the room. Calm came. Needless to say, I put it on repeat. Every time I hear it, to this day, it takes me back into the peace that passes understanding.
Here I was in Uganda, far away from home, and still God brought cleansing, healing tears to my heart. I needed them. He knew it, so he provided. It’s been 31 years, and we still walk the road of brain injury, but God has always been and will always be with us on this journey.